Professor Azim Nanji, Director of the IIS, was interviewed on the theme of “Paradise as a Garden” by the BBC in the roof garden of the Ismaili Centre in London. The interview discusses the important symbolism of the garden in the Islamic tradition. Especially important in this context are the natural elements of a garden: water, flowers, trees and shrubs, and birds. All of these are to be found in the roof garden of the Ismaili Centre.
Invoking the Qur’anic verses that describe paradise (jannah) as a garden, Professor Nanji likened experiencing a garden to a ‘spiritual balm’ for the soul. At another level, gardens are also rich with esoteric symbolism not just because of the Qur’anic references but also because of the way a garden organizes space to appeal to both the outer and inner dimensions of a person. In this way, the exoteric and esoteric are brought into harmony, consistent with a basic Islamic conception of not dichotomising between the spiritual and material – whether in terms of space or human life more generally.
The BBC World Service Religion broadcast the interview on the 18th of April 2000 as part of a programme entitled “Patterns of Faith: A Place in Paradise”.
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Professor Azim Nanji interviewed by the BBC World Service on topic of “Paradise as a Garden” in the roof garden of the Ismaili Centre in London." name=description>